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Horsham Nursery School has collaborated with outdoor play specialists Playgarden in order to transform their setting from tarmac and wetpour to green space.
Purpose-built in 2008, although the nursery school was satisfied with their facility’s interior, they immediately sought a longer-term vision for the outside play areas based on a holistic approach to play.
Headteacher Debbie Carter said: “We had been looking around for an outdoor company that would help us create a flexible, open-ended play environment which maximised the play potential of the landscape. We found that most companies just wanted to sell us play equipment and were unable to see our vision for a landscape-led play space that meets the needs of the early years.
“We were recommended Playgarden by early years outdoor consultant, Jan White. Playgarden, with its Specialist Early Years Landscape Architect service, were able to work alongside us to create a design that provided the play experiences we were keen to embrace – sand and water, multiple journeys, more planting and different levels.
“We were really pleased with this service because we were able to work hand-in-hand with the architect to develop a play environment rich in play and learning opportunities for the early years. We really felt that the architect took the time to understand what we were trying to achieve in the space and it was good value for money to invest at the beginning of the project to ensure we achieved the outcome we were looking for.”
Now children attending the nursery can exercise their imagination by exploring a network of pathways, with an intersecting bridge and sand and water play, including a pebble play stream with its own dam, enhanced by many sensory elements and a configuration that also suits those with limited mobility.
Debbie Carter concludes, “Our new outdoor space offers a more flexible, creative play and learning environment than before we began working with Playgarden. We knew at the outset what we were looking for alternative heights, journeys and pathways, and more opportunities for imaginative and varied play. What we needed was a company like Playgarden that knew how we could achieve this within our space.”